Storytelling Matters

The Live Art and the Power of Words

Reimagining Beauty – J is for Jocular

Blogging A to Z

If you are new to this blog, welcome!

For my Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I am writing about how storytellers, writers, parents, teachers (in other words, just about anyone) can reimagine beauty to be more inclusive. That way, people with disabilities, varying body types and racial backgrounds, etc. (in other words, anyone) can feel and be recognized by the world as the beauties they truly are.

Reimagining Beauty – J is for Jocular

When people think about what qualities they want in prospective friends and partners, good looks don’t rate as a topmost characteristic. How do I know this? I did a quick and quite unscientific search engine query of “answers” sites. People who posted on the sites I viewed mention a variety of qualities. But one quality repeatedly bubbled over the babble. Humor. Apparently, funny is pretty attractive.

People are drawn to humor. At gatherings, people flock into the room where they hear laughter. When life is dark, levity lightens it. In the face of a tragic image, jokes help people cope. Recent research suggests that although positive jokes are best, even snarky and negative humor can, to lesser effect, help us deal with the hard stuff. You can read more about that study here.

Humor draws us in and it helps us handle troubles.

Jokes, and more to the point, the people who create them, have the ability to enliven the world with laughter. What a wonderful, beautiful gift.

When someone defuses a tense situation with a joke, when laughter replaces angry words, an ugly moment is transformed to a beautiful one. When someone reminds us of the hilarity of situation, or can tease out the humor from an overworked job situation, that too is beautiful.

Who are the mirth givers in the stories you tell or write? Raise the jocular ones up on pedestals. Hold them up as the beautiful ones. Find the funny in characters who aren’t witty by nature and take notice of a beautiful comic moment. Rightly placed and smartly commented upon, jocularity is a beautiful thing.

People love the class clown is for a reason. Even if the clown’s humor doesn’t help raise class grades, that class clown helps raise class spirit. And beautiful, high spirits earn the highest marks.

Would love your thoughts on this: Exactly one week after the Malaysian plane disappeared, I heard my first joke about it. As I indicate above, research suggests that it is important for people to laugh to cope with darkness. But this is a raw and recent issue. What do you think? Is there a window of time that people need to not be hearing plane jokes? Is it never okay? I still don’t recall hearing 9/11 jokes here in America. Do some tragedies rate as “okay” for jokes and others not? Anyone up for a conversation about this?

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14 thoughts on “Reimagining Beauty – J is for Jocular

  1. Cecilia on said:

    the jokes usually take about a week and as you suggest it is usually as tension relief. it is just as natural to laugh as it is to cry when there is a tragedy but as typically happens we as a society have relabelled our emotions as crying appropriate or laughing appropriate rather than accepting the natural needs of our body to react the way it needs. I think there is a ground swell shift in attitude toward what is considered beautiful and it makes me so happy.

  2. FleaByte on said:

    Huh. You’re right. I haven’t heard one joke about 9/11. It probably stems back to the axiom that humor is what happens to someone else (Malaysia) while tragedy is what happens to you (USA).

  3. Paul R. Burns on said:

    My wife and I are fortunate to have been blessed with a sense of humor allowing us to travel laughing through our golden years and attracting a wide circle of friends for that very reason. A brief comment on political humor. Imagine poking fun at our president and not being awakened in the middle of the night arrested and put in prison for treason as in other countries. We certainly do have freedom of expression. Humor following a tragedy, well I like how the night time comedy hosts handle it with a sober statement reaching out to those affected adding how difficult and insensitive it must appear, but hopefully the humor which will follow will help ease the pain.

    • Yes, the hosts have a point for sure. But think of this – when jokes come your way on Facebook, for instance, do you get warnings? I don’t know if everyone handles it as sensitively…

  4. Jokes and laughter definitely make for a healthier life style but like everything else, jokes are different for everyone depending where we are coming from at that moment. I love your question and will continue to ponder with my husband – great discussion!
    Sue Kuentz

  5. Storytelling is a natural skill and an art. One cannot force storytelling. Garrison Keillor is an example of superb storytelling.
    Over from the A to Z.

  6. Humor does relieve tension, just wish I was better at it.

  7. Stopping by on the 12th day of the #atozchallenge. Having a good time today blog hopping, saying hi and moving on.There are storytelling festivals in North Carolina, and you have reminded me, I want to go to one of them this year. If you have time or interest, I am writing about gardening and related topics this month. Come and visit.

    • Thanks for the hop, I will check you out too. I’m just in from doing storytelling in NC, funny you mention it. Yes, there are many festivals, and I’ve got friends doing those fests, it is worth your time.

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